By Cheryl Coleman
The time has come for me to decide if an all-girls high school a good fit for my daughter. Is it the right choice? After doing some research and talking with teachers and girls who are students at single-gender schools, it seems like an all-girl school could be a good option for us. From what I can gather, single-sex schools can give great all-around educational experiences to its students. The girls are very motivated in academics and extracurricular activities. They help each other to be the best they can be and most of the girls are in either a club or sport, which is definitely not the case is a co-ed school.
Same-sex schools have been a topic of discussion in education for years. I personally feel if we take boys out of the equation our girls will feel less self-conscious and more focused. So many girls struggle with self-image, self-esteem, confidence, jealousy and many other issues that are centered around boys. At a single-sex schools, I believe, these issues won’t be as prevalent. Girls will most likely have a more positive approach in their social environments, feel more confident in class discussions and openly ask questions.
Adolescent mental therapists seem to agree that single sex schools is one way to keep girls focused on academics and developing positive social relationships. However, as with all school types, I have learned that there are some pitfalls as well. Some girls may struggle with self-identity by comparing themselves to other girls who are “popular” or more “accepted.”
I live in the Washington, DC area and there are a number of single sex schools that we can choose from including traditional public schools, public charter schools, and private schools. And while my daughter is in a private school now, I have included on my list of possibilities a few charter schools because I like the innovative approaches they offer to learning.
Whatever you decide, I believe it is important to let your daughter be a part of conversation on deciding where she will go to school. Make a list of what you both believe the pros and cons of the choice will be. Go on a school tour and allow your daughter to experience a “day-in-the-life” of a student at a single sex school. Do like I did and talk to other girls who have gone to single-gender schools ask current students about their experiences, and how they feel about being in a single gender school. Gather all the information you can before making your final decision.